Monday, March 31, 2014

There is only one word that can really describe this week... mainit "hot"!!!!!  The humidity has been up a lot higher than normal and I can't take three steps without sweating.  I don't even think Old Spice has enough strength to control my sweating.  I just wonder what it's going to be like going back to a dry heat when I go back home.  But other than that this week has been pretty great.  Elder Joaqin and I are still struggling for new investigators  because our area is pretty small and everyone knows us.  But with the Bordon baptism this week we are really going to have to increase our effort to find new investigators.  

I think the highlight of this week was...... all of the eating appointments that we had this week.  This past week was graduation for the high schools so let's just say that I didn't go hungry.  In fact I think we only had to cook two or three meals in 4 days because we were always eating somewhere else.  That was fine with me because that meant I didn't have to do dishes. This was also the first time that I was able to eat sting ray.  Might I say that it does really taste like chicken.  But it should come with a warning label because I had to stay close to a bathroom for a few hours.
For General Conference we will be heading down to Pamplona (Stake Center) about an hour south of here.  But we don't have General Conference until next week because they don't broadcast it live due to the time difference.  Well I do love you all and I wish you the best of luck with everything. Mahal ko po kayo pamilya ko!!  May God be with you till we meet again.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Well this is just one of the many of joys of being in the Philippines.  No electricity and slow internet... oh well. The gospel is still true.  This week has been rough work wise.  With Barangay basketball (it's like recreational basketball) in full swing it's hard to get a hold of anybody!!!  It's like all of Ragay shuts down to watch the games or to play in them.  And I thought I was a die hard basketball fan... well I think I just got beat.  These Filipinos are sure dedicated to the greatest game ever invented!  On the bright side ; Elder Joaquin and I weren't transferred so that means we have one more transfer to get things done Ragay and we finally got two new investigators!!  Our area relatively small population wise but pretty big area wise which is difficult at times for tracting because we've tracted almost all of our area!  

With the Bordon's baptism being only two weeks away, my heart is just pounding because I can feel their excitement for the biggest decision of their life up to this point.  Each and every lesson I can tell of their dedication to our Lord and Savior and their willingness to follow his commandments.  They aren't a family of wealth, but they are truly a family of love.  This has been one of the biggest pleasure's of being a missionary to me up to this point.  The example of this family has changed my life and my viewpoint on service to our Heavenly Father.  

Yesterday Ragay had it's first ever youth activity (which we as missionaries were in charge of) and to all of our surprise.... there were 27 youth that showed up!  Seeing the bonding between the youth and their non-member friends was awesome.  You could just see the light and the enjoyment in their eyes as they participated in what I thought was some pretty epic games.  

I love you all so much and I don't know what I would do without you guys. Mahal ko po kayo!!!  May God be with you till we meet again.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Well this has been one week to remember.  As of yesterday Ragay made a big step from a group to becoming a branch.  It was a big privilege to be able to be one of the missionaries present when the first branch presidency was organized in this wonderful area of the Philippines.  Just a little less than 8 months ago Ragay had 6 people attending church and as of yesterday there were 62 people in attendance.  The church really is moving forward here and I am so happy to be a part of it.  But it is so awesome to see the diligence of these wonderful members; they may not be rich in the world but they for sure are rich in the Lord.  Another great thing that happened this week was the other set of Elders (Elder Lesa and Bolambao) had 4 baptisms and a lot of our investigators were able to attend that.  It was so cool to see the members just taking them in treating them like family.  That is probably one of the greatest things that I have seen in this area; nobody gets left out.  

On the other hand... Dad got to be on the news with Big Buddha.  That is sweet!  I remember that time at the 4th of July parade when Big Buddha was there and Uncle John was talking about running out to him and yelling "Brother".  Boy time sure does fly. It's always pretty crazy to think that Dad is in the Bishopric again and mom is no longer the Primary President.  There's a reason for everything so I know whatever calling you'll have mom; you'll do just great.  Well I love you all so much and I am so grateful to be able to call you guys my family.  I wouldn't ask for it any other way.  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo!!!  May God be with you till we meet again.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Life has kind of settled down here in Ragay this week.  Elder Joaquin and I were punted from a good portion of our appointments which resulted in A LOT of tracting (my favorite *cough cough*)  But it is really hard to tract because of the lack of male presence in the home.  Oh the joys of missionary life!  But on the bright side of the work.  The Bordon family is continuing to attend church and their excitement about being baptized is through the roof.  They are even already setting goals to be able to go the temple and do baptisms for the dead!  Just being able to be a part of helping them come closer to Christ is quite the privilege.

Well it sounds like things at home are pretty adventurous at the moment.   It's a weird thought thinking that Maddie is going to be baptized here in a couple of weeks; it just makes me realize of how fast time really has gone.  At the end of two more transfers I'll be halfway through with my mission and I'll be 19.  People weren't lying when they said that this would go by in the blink of an eye.  Well I'm sorry that this is a shorter letter; there's not a lot that happened this week.  I love you all so much and it's going to be so much fun being able to share more memories with you guys upon my arrival home (which I'm really trying not to think about).  Continue to work hard and stay strong.  Never forget that the Lord is always there with you; we just need to try to understand of what He wants us to learn.  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo!  May God be with you till we meet again.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Well as the time has just clicked to March, things here in the Philippines continue to get hotter, and hotter.  I think I'm going to come back home looking more like a fried banana than a returned missionary.  I hope this doesn't affect my dating life.  This transfer is already halfway over and it feels like I just arrived here in Ragay.  The work here is moving forward at a rapid pace and it feels good to be a part of it.  Especially for the fact that I just found out that I am the FIRST full American to be assigned here in Ragay.  That's a journal entry right there by itself.  This is the only time of my life where I can feel like "Channing Tatum".

On the work side of things... things are looking bright.  Elder Joaquin and I have 4 baptisms lined up for the 29th of March.  The great part about it is that it is a family!! They are excited for their baptism and I couldn't be more happy for them.  We are also teaching a young man named Nico who is reminds me a lot of "Finau" from The Other Side of Heaven.  He is so excited to listen to us and he even stops working so we can teach him.   He just has an issue going to church because he lives kind of far away and he doesn't have a personal motor and it's hard for him to pay for public transportation.  I hope that we can help him find a way to be able to attend church.  Another bright thing about the area is that President Reeder turned in papers to the Church in order for Ragay to become a branch so hopefully within 3 or 4 months Ragay will finally be a branch!!!  
Well I love you guys and it's so much fun hear about the good that you guys are doing back at home.  You guys are doing great missionary work!  Keep doing what's right and all will work out.  Mahal ko po kayo pamilya ko!!!  May God be with you till we meet again.

                                                 -Elder Cole